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Drawing Near: Four Spiritual Disciplines to Deepen Our Relationship With God


Drawing near to God with Spiritual Disciplines

The term “Spiritual Disciplines” may not sound that exciting. In the past, this phrase made me think of a rule book. I didn’t want my relationship with God to be based on a set of rules! After all, Jesus came to free us from having to earn our way into a relationship with him.


However, when I learned that “discipline” shares the same root word as “disciple” the negative connotations started to fall away. (Embarrassingly, this was a fairly recent discovery. Don’t judge too harshly.)


When we devote ourselves to drawing near to Jesus, we are his disciples. As his disciples, we want to glean every practical tool we can for drawing closer to our Savior. These practical tools are called Spiritual Disciplines.

What are Spiritual Disciplines?


In his book about the topic, Donald S. Whitney defines Spiritual Disciplines as “practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life).



Spiritual Disciplines - reading Bible, Journal, Prayer, and serving

This blog is far from an exhaustive list of Spiritual Disciplines, but it’s a manageable place to begin, both for you and for me. I chose these four Spiritual Disciplines because they can be put into practice daily starting tomorrow… or even today!


Reading God’s word


  • Reading God’s word strengthens our faith. The stories of real, flawed people demonstrate that we are not beyond God’s reach. And his promises remind us that we are never alone.

  • The Bible teaches us about God’s character. The God of history is the same God we worship today. Each time we read a scripture passage, we can ask ourselves “What did I learn about God?” The Lord is far greater than we will ever be able to understand. But we strive to know him the best we can by reading his word.

  • Scripture gives us guidance on how to live. The Bible teaches us God’s best for life on this earth. When we apply God’s lessons of forgiveness, compassion, and integrity, they mold us to be more like Jesus.

 

Prayer


  • Prayer is an investment in our relationship with God. If we want to grow any relationship, we commit to spending time together. The same is true for our relationship with the Lord!

  •  When we pray, we experience better alignment with the heart of God. As we pray we learn to humble ourselves. Prayer is not about asking God to meet my agenda. It is about submitting to his will and participating in His story.

  • God provides peace when we pray. When circumstances are beyond our control, our hearts and minds can be filled with anxiety. The storm of worries calms when we choose to bring our prayers to God. He provides peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:6-7).

 

Journaling

(As a writer, I admit I may be a bit partial to this one ☺️)


  • Writing what we are learning, helps to cement the lessons God is working to teach us. This may be as simple as taking sermon notes and looking over them during the week. But when we write out what God is teaching us, those lessons sink deeper into our souls.

  •  Journaling serves as evidence of God’s work. We can’t always see God moving in real time. When we keep a record of events in our lives, we can look back and see the unmistakable fingerprints of God’s faithfulness.

  •  Penning our prayers helps us process. During hard times, my brain often feels like a jumbled mess. But, when I pick up a pen, I force my mind to slow down and focus. I especially find this helpful for prayer. I can sort through my thoughts enough to form prayers one letter at a time.

 

Serving


  • We serve to follow Christ’s example. Jesus’ ministry was about serving others. He set aside his own desires to teach, heal, restore, and bring hope. His life was committed to serving God by serving others. (Matthew 20:28)

  •  Serving others teaches us to see them as God sees them. Most of us don’t even have to leave home to serve others. We can serve those living with us! Serving means setting aside our selfishness and seeing those around us as souls Christ died for. (Sometimes this is most challenging with those we live with.)

  •  Service gives us an opportunity to be a part of God’s story. Whether it seems like it or not, our commitment to serving others matters. True service to the Lord doesn’t usually look like success in the eyes of the world. But no act of obedience is wasted in the hands of The Almighty.



God’s word tells us “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV). If we desire a closer relationship with God, we can have it! Reading God’s word, prayer, journaling, and serving will all lead our hearts closer to the Lord.


We don’t take these actions to earn God’s love (we already have it!). Instead, as his disciples, we aim to steer our hearts in the same direction as his through the practice of Spiritual Disciplines.


 

If you found this blog to be encouraging or helpful,

please share with a friend or on social media.


I would love to hear from you!

Send me a message at Carrie@ChoosingFaith23.com

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